Central New Jersey Seeing Flood of Mortgage Defaults

Foreclosure CrisisCoreLogic, a company that tracks statistics about foreclosures and homes in danger of foreclosure, reported on March 1 that nearly 79,000, or 14.2 percent, of all homes in Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties are underwater on their mortgages. Underwater is defined as owing more money on a mortgage than the home currently is worth.

Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Evaluation Group in East Brunswick, confirmed that figure is similar to what he’s seeing. He said home prices have receded to 2003 levels, so people who bought their home after 2003 probably now are facing negative equity in their homes. This is especially true for people who bought homes with little or no down payment.

“And what’s also worrisome is that (an additional) 4.3 percent will be underwater if market prices fall another 5 percent,” Otteau said.

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